Magazine article Gramophone

'Siecle'

Magazine article Gramophone

'Siecle'

Article excerpt

'Siecle' Debussy Cello Sonata (a) Dutilleux Tout un monde lointain ... (b) Messlaen Quatuor pour la fin du temps--Louange a l'Eternite de Jesus (a) Ravel Piece en forme de habanera (a) Saint-Saens Cello Concerto No 1, Op 33 (c) Leonard Eischenbroich vc (a) Alexei Grynyuk pf (bc) BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra / (b) John Wilson, (c) Stefan Blunier Onyx (F) ONYX4173 (70' * DDD)

Leonard Elschenbroich's burgeoning discography continues to defy convention. This time it is not the music itself that is unfamiliar but rather the way in which the cellist has chosen to pull together a disparate programme representing a century of French creativity. Comparisons might seem beside the point given the dearth of comparable projects.

Elschenbroich's dark, lean sonority cuts across other expectations too. The sequence begins with a fiercely immediate realisation of the Dutilleux concerto, the most recent score, here rather sounding it: rivals tend to inhabit a subtler, more rarefied (more French?) sound world. Then a switch to cello and piano for Messiaen, the fifth movement of his Quatuor pour la fin du temps sounding plaintive rather than earth-shattering in this context. Still, we shouldn't obsess about authenticity. The music was originally conceived for Fete des belles eaux (1937) and the whoop of multiple ondes martenot. What follows is Debussy's Cello Sonata, aptly lean rather than refulgent, with an arrangement for cello and piano of Ravel's Piece enforme de habanera appended. Pianist Alexei Grynyuk is ceaselessly imaginative, very much an equal partner. …

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